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So this was going to be a real post…

§ January 6th, 2023 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, predictions § 4 Comments

…about one of two different subjects, but the first one was going to be the first of a series, which was a problem as I’m starting the look back at your 2022 comic industry predictions next week. And the second one…turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would be at first glance, and I can’t really stay up ’til 3 AM getting it all puzzled out. So, those are for another day then!

But speaking of predictions, you do remember that I’m looking for YOUR 2023 comic industry predictions! Put ’em in this little chromium comments section here, so long as you mind the very important rules.

Thanks everyone…I know this wasn’t much of a post today, but you’ll be looking back on it fondly once I get crackin’ on the walls of text looking back at those older predictions. Gird whatever needs girding before then, and I’ll see you on Monday!

“Get me the Instagram account of Spider-Man!”

§ December 29th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 6 Comments

Okay, this is the last time I’m plugging it this year, and I probably won’t mention it again ’til I start doing follow-ups in just a couple weeks to the last time we did this, buuuuuuuut…

…get me your 2023 comic predictions, soon! Like now! Do it quick like the bunny! Just follow those rules I have posted there, please!

This is also the second year, I think, where I posted my own predictions. I did it last year, so I’ll know how I did soon enough.

Anyway, I know blogging here hasn’t been as thick and meaty as it normally is, and I could go back and retype that into something less unpleasant but I refuse to. It’s just…Christmas and end-of-the-year stuff and Surprise! Migraine! and other things just getting in the way of doing the important work…blogging about that menace Spider-Man! (Actual image of me blogging about Spider-Man above.)

But I’m not going anywhere, hopefully you aren’t going anywhere, and we’ll all meet back here at the start of the new year with me providing The Content, and you providing The Eyeballs. I’ll also see if I can’t scrape together some kind of “Best of the Year” entry about comics I did manage to read, despite being desperately behind. And of course, as noted, I’ll be covering your predictions for 2022 in the next few weeks, which will have you begging for more lean times on this here site.

So thanks for reading, pals, and I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s Eve/Day!

Hey pals!

§ December 23rd, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, self-promotion § 4 Comments

Yeah, I know my posting has been along the light side over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been busy with Christmas and family and both stuff. But I appreciate your engagement on the posts I have been making. Speaking of which, don’t forget to paste your prognostications into this post asking for your 2023 comic book industry predictions! Remember, three per person please, and also if you were going to prediction “Aftershock declares bankruptcy,” you’re too late!

Onto some other matters…while my short-form, spur of the moment micro-blogging is primarily done on the Twitters, the inept management by the new owner has all of us wondering about the continuing vitality of that particular platform. Especially in the wake of the decision (which may or not be rescinded, who the hell knows) to ban links, or even in some cases mentions, of certain other similar social media outlets. Especially those that have benefited most from departing Twitter users looking for places to land.

Well, let me remind you again of other places where you can find me, right here on a site not owned by Elon Musk. I can make my own dumb decisions, thank you.

I am “mikester” on Mastodon, Cohost, Tumblr. I am also “mikester” on Counter.social.

And of top of all that I am “mikesterling” on Post (yeah, I know, got to my name a little late. Ah well, What Can You Do?

Okay, that’s that, I hope everyone has a good holiday, where applicable! Will hopefully be back to normal posting next week.

This isn’t really a variant covers post.

§ November 28th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, variant covers § 2 Comments

So I apologize…I’ve been getting home lately feeling under the weather and pretty worn out, so “typing out long-form commentaries at the computer deep into the night” hasn’t been a huge priority for me for the last few days. It’s just a bug I’m fighting (NOT COVID, I ASSURE YOU) and I should be back to whatever passes for normal within a couple of days.

In the meantime I’ve been lazily watching a lot of television, with a good dollop of YouTube mixed in. Now, I don’t usually watch comic book-related YouTubery, preferring instead to let the sound of this video drape over my wearied brow.

But I happened to find this one, discussing the history of variant covers:


Unlike my long-running and currently waiting-for-new-content series on this here site, where I jumped all over the place discussing this, that, and the other thing, this video gives more of a chronological context to what was going on.

What surprised me was that I was cited in the course of the video, when the Jab #3 from Adhesive Comics was featured. You know, the one the publisher straight up shot with a real bullet. Specifically, the usage of a panel scan from that post was noted in the video, and a link back to my website was provided in that video’s notes, which was nice. I do feel like that post provided a lot of the info used in that specific segment, beyond the one panel, but eh, Information Wants to Be Free an’ all that. Happy to be a research source.

I should also note not all those Spider-Man #1s were the same price, as the black bagged version was two bucks. Why was it two bucks and not $1.75 like the others? Because they could charge two bucks for it, that’s why. I wrote about this infamous first issue here.

Anyway, it’s a good video and you should watch it. Also, kudos to the fella for pulling a Silver Surfer #50 off his rack and revealing a U.S. 1 underneath.

• • •

A couple of brief responses to comments here:

Scipio asked

“Any idea why the Comic Treadmill old posts are inaccessible?

“All of H and Mag’s work.. .gone?”

I just took a look, and yeah, the last few posts are on the one page, but the post calendar is way out of date on the right there. I feel like that may be a page template error or something, like it hasn’t been updated for current browsers or something. I’ve been in contact with H recently, so I’ll send him another email and ask what’s up.

And then Gregory Burgas said on the topic of the comicsweblogosphere

“I think the ‘Golden Age’ was around 06-11/12 or so. Before that, it was a bit Wild West, but around 06, everything seemed to be humming, but around 11/12, people began to drop off. Of course, those years are fluid, but that seems about right. I’m glad you’re still cooking!”

I’m still standing, as it were. I don’t plan on going anywhere soon, I’ve still got posts about the Death of Superman and Frank Miller’s The Spirit to write.

But yes, the 2006-2012 timeframe sounds pretty close. I started this site in late 2003 (with BBS stuff and LiveJournal before that), and there were a few earlier than me (like the immortal Neilalien). The late, lamented Journalista daily linkblog by Dirk Deppey from the early 2000s on drove a lot of traffic to sites, including mine…and I’ve told Deppey plenty of times that a lot of what I’ve accomplished today, including opening my own shop, stems from him pointing out my dumb site in one of his updates. The exact quote:

“…Definitely one of the better new comics bloggers to emerge so far this year.”

…made me very happy, particularly coming from The Comics Journal, a magazine I’d long read and admired. Hopefully my long decline since hasn’t made him regret his statement.

But I can’t say when I first noticed the dropoff. I know a lot of my online pals with whom I most directly interacted started to cut the blogging habit as the years wore on, and boy, I sure heard “blogging is dead” a whole lot over the last few years. I know the big thing is video, or image-heavy stuff on Instagram and the like, and giant blocks of text like the one you’re currently enduring being somewhat on the outs. But folks are still out there writing and posting on their WordPress installs and their Blogger sites, so The Blog is still hanging in there.

I mean, for your sake, it better…you don’t want to have to look at my face on TikTok or whatever for your comics content.

Anyway, I said I wasn’t doing a long post since I’m feeling yucky, and here I am still trying. I do tend to be a creature of habit, which may be as much a reason as any for my continuing to write here, even when I should be in bed sleeping off my sickness. So, thanks for reading pals, and we’ll all meet back here again in a couple of days.

A most sinful post.

§ November 23rd, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin § 5 Comments

Look, I know I still owe responses to some old comments, and that said responses will be a bit time-intensive for me to slap together so I’m doing lazy posts like today since I’m still a bit not-altogether-there and extended thought processes are falling into a jumble of nose fish bicycle, so please bear with me while I get my act together here.

Let me respond to a couple of comments re: blogging from the other day.

Walaka of Earth Two crosses the dimensional barrier to say

“…The comixweblogosphere was robust and diverse with snark over here and nostalgia over there and scholarship in the corner. And none of it was homogenized or monetized or corporate. That era was way too short.”

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that during Peak Comics Blogging, before I’d write my post for the day I’d zip through all the blogs in my sidebar and make sure I wasn’t duplicating anything my blogging brethren or sisteren had already covered. Of course that’s the behavior of a complete madman, particularly when I realized the value of “a personal blog” is one’s…well, personal insight and perspective. Sure, we were all talking about ALL-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, but was anyone talking about it the exact same way I was talking about it? I think not.

I do miss the cross-pollination of blog posts and comment sections and all that jazz between the comic blogs at the time, and I look at (as Andrew points out) my almost entirely-rotted links page and lament the loss of many of those voices. Which is why I’m lamenting the possible loss of Twitter, as several of those folks turned up there so they’re not entirely gone.

Someone, and I’m sorry but I forget who, was going through all the old comic blogs, indicating which ones were still going, which were still up but clearly ended, which were gone entirely, what happened to the folks running them, etc. I thought that was a pretty interesting, if sometimes depressing, series…though that person ironically enough shut down his own site before getting to me and this ancient blog of mine. Dang it, the site name is on the tip of my tongue and I just can’t remember it. I even plugged it here once or thrice. Ah, well, I’ll think of it eventually.

But anyway, I’ll reiterate a pledge I made to y’all before, that I promise not to disappear on you with no warning. When I take my rare-ish break from the site and I say “I’ll be back soon,” that’s not the death-knell we’ve seen so many times on other blogs. I really will be back, honest! As long as I’m in this terrible industry, and still slinging comics, I’ll keep this site going. Or if for some reason all traditional blogging software goes kaput and I have to move to a new platform, I’ll let you know. I mean, I suppose if I am retired…you know, permanent-like, against my will, the site’s done, but I wouldn’t be able to help that. But if I can run this site from beyond the grave, I will.

I suppose being in comics retailing as long as I have is what’s kept this blog alive all these years (coming up on its 19th anniversary in just a couple of weeks!). I can’t imagine it surviving my departure from the business…for one thing, I suspect I’d not want to talk about comics after that. But, with any luck, that won’t be an issue. So long as, you know, people keep buying comics from me.

Okay, that’s enough of that. Not sure what I’ll be posting for Black Friday, as who’s gonna be reading blogs on Black Friday, but I’ll come up with something. Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll talk again with you soon. Honest. No foolin’.

I could always go back to LiveJournal.

§ November 21st, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, how the sausage is made, video § 7 Comments

Hi pals…I’m a little under the weather (not COVID, don’t worry) so I’m going to try to keep this reasonably short today.

Just to touch upon a topic I’ve noted before, the social media hoohar is still going on, as everyone is casting about trying to figure out what the new Twitter is going to be. Frankly, I think the new Twitter will be “the old Twitter, only worse” but in the meantime I’m trying out Mastodon, I’m there on Cohost, and I’m also on The Hive (user name: “mikester” natch), which is phone-app only but looks promising. I even revived my Tumblr, for Pete‘s sake.

I don’t know where we’re all going, but we’re certainly going somewhere. I do expect Twitter to survive, even despite current ownership, and as someone said they’re going to discover themselves engineering back to the solutions that already existed when their thoughtless whims all come crashing down. The trick is whether or not the advertisers and the power users will stick it out ’til everything settles down.

But whatever happens, you can always find me here, and you can see what else I’m up to (or had been up to) at mikesterling.com. And that reminds me…I’ve long lamented the fact that “mikester.com” was registered only a few short months before I thought about doing so, and after years of being what appeared to be a mostly-inert webpage it is now in the hands of some domain sales site at the low, low cost of nearly $4000. So, for about 4% of the price I registered “mikester.net” instead. It just forwards to mikesterling.com. Hey, that’s a whole four characters less! A real timesaver!

Okay, so this isn’t just me blabbing about social media and domain names, here’s some actual comic book content. It’s the Wizard-a-like Hero Illustrated‘s video magazine #2 from 1994! Warning: may be hard to take all 25 minutes in one sitting. Features a Rob Liefeld interview and commercials for a video game I don’t remember.

“Overly talky” versus a book that had Chris Claremont writing for it.

§ May 16th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, dc comics, marvel § 9 Comments

So back in Ye Olden Dayes of this blog, when I wrote about specific comics, all I had to do was dip into the Vast Mikester Comic Archives and pull out a copy of the book I wanted to discuss. “Ah, yes, fetch me that copy of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #106, would you Jeeves, that’s a good chap,” as I reclined into my Marc Newson Lockheed Lounge Chair, quill in hand, ready to pen the latest enthralling installment of Progressive Fancypants dot com.

Well, that changed when all thoughts of fancypantsness went out the window as I opened up my own comic book store, and the Vast Mikester Comic Archives became The Dismal Dregs once I gave over my personal stock to shop stock. Now when I want to discuss a particular book, it’s either one that I came across at my store, one I can pull images from DCUniverseInfinite.com, or I can bum pics off a pal, usually Bully.

It’s particularly frustrating when the books I want to discuss are definitely ones I bought off the stands at the time of release, and long since given up to the shop, such as 1985’s Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men from Marvel Comics:

and Heroes Against Hunger from DC Comics:


Produced during that time pop culture remembered that Africa was having some problems, these were fundraising comics to aid the fight against starvation. Honestly, I don’t know how much money was raised by these projects, given each had a price tag of $1.50, so the wholesale price was about half that (unless there was a different discount structure in place for these particular books, which is possible), and unless those distributors also donated their share of the profits…well, that wasn’t much per issue going to charity. It’s a little better once you multiply that portion of the cover price by however many copies were sold to retailers (for which I have no info, so I’m gonna make the rough estimate of about 300,000 for the X-Men book, and half that for the DC one), then maybe you’re talking some real money. Maybe not “We Are the World” money, but not nuthin’, either.

I’m sure some enterprising person out there already crunched all those numbers and I’ll hear about it shortly, but that would take some kind of “internet search engine” to locate something like that. I’ll have to ask my man Jeeves to look into it. Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

No, what I’m here to talk about is the impact these books had on me, and possibly also on cultural awareness overall (as far as “comic book fandom cultural awareness” goes on something like this). And all this came about because I was processing a collection the other day that had a copy of the Marvel benefit book. That in itself isn’t terribly unusual…copies of this title show up in collections all the time, far more frequently than the DC counterpart, which is why I presumed earlier the vast disparity in printruns.

But whenever I get a copy, I poke through it and marvel (so to speak) at the creative teams they put together for the short vignettes within…usually only two or three pages long by a specific creative team. There is a bare thread of a storyline connecting everything, but the real meat are the small character bits each short provides, as the various X-Men face personal, emotional challenges. Harlan Ellison and Frank Miller presents Wolverine rising above his savage instincts, Chris Claremont and Brian Bolland have Storm confronting her various self-images, Stephen King(!) and Bernie Wrightson have Kitty face off against…well, hunger (there’s more to it than that, didn’t flip through it agin to refresh my memory, but boy that “Good God, let’s eat!” still sticks with me). And then there’s this, which I took an askew shot of at the shop to post onto Twitter:


…contrasting Magneto’s Holocaust survivor background with the future he may bring about with his battle for mutant superiority over the common folk. I mean, Hitler shows up on this page to praise Magneto, it ain’t exactly subtle. It’s Alan Moore in a very rare bit of Marvel work (his only new post-UK work for the company, I believe), drawn by the underground comix legend Richard Corben. Not shown (except a bit in the last panel of that page there) are the great rotting corpses that only Corben could create. It may very well be one of my favorite bits of X-Men comics.

Here’s the thing about not having these comics readily accessible in my collection any more. I have to depend on my memories of having read the books. Yes, I said I get the Marvel book in collections all the time, but I’m not spending time to flip through each copy that shows up. It was only the other day where I thought “you know what’s good? this Moore/Corben sequence” and decided to take a picture of it so I could say so on the Twitterers. Many of the images and events of this comic stick in my mind clearly, nearly 40 years after I first saw them. That emaciated Kitty Pryde, Wolverine standing triumphant, Storm in her various guises, a guilt-ridden Magneto. I don’t remember a whole lot else from the comic, but those have been living in my brain a very long time.

Now let’s take the DC book. Similar in structure to the Marvel comic, it’s made up of short 2-3 page sequences each by a different creative team, strung together into a semblance of a story. I have two primary memories of this comic, which I definitely bought and read at the time.

The first memory is of a review I read of it in, well, probably has to be Amazing Heroes. Basically the complained about the inconsistency of the writing, specifically citing that Lex Luthor’s characterization would change from segment to segment. An inherent problem, I suppose, in having this many writing cooks in the kitchen.

The other memory was of Luthor weeping when put face to face with starving people. I mentioned that scene online, and it was Twitter pal BobH to the rescue, snapping a pic of that very moment:


As BobH pointed out, that’s by Barry Windsor-Smith and Catherine Jones, an impressive art team by any measure. He also mentions Bernie Wrightson inked by Mike Kaluta (wow!) and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez inked by Jerry Ordway (another shot from BobH):


A look at the credits shows lots of other impressive (and weird) combos. I mean, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson! Curt Swan inked by John Byrne! Walt Simonson inked by Steve Leialoha! (That one’s gotta be weird!) C’mon, Kirby is in this! There’s a lot of what should be some spectacular work in here.

I just don’t remember any of it. Nothing from the book stuck, except that one image of Luthor. (Which I liked, by the way…I always preferred the “yes he’s a bad guy but not a complete monster” pre-Crisis Luthor to the nigh-irredeemable post-Crisis Luthor we’d get only a couple of years after this.) Otherwise my mental image of the book was that it was…cluttered and cramped, overly talky and not as visually memorable or striking as the X-Men comic. The DC one even had its own Big Name Horror Writer in Robert Bloch, for a sequence also drawn by Wrightson, and hand-to-God I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it.

Not to say the X-Men book totally ruled and the DC one drooled or anything. The former had a bit by Mike Baron/Steve Rude, a creative team I normally like, which I looked at briefly in the copy I had at the store and gosh darn if I could tell what was going on. And frankly the DC book sounds a lot better than I remember, but I still feel like it does just sound that way, that something in the execution made it a less memorable offering that the Marvel release.

Lot of words to throw at you to essentially say “I remember one book more fondly than the other” but this is just one of those things I go through as an older fan who’s had a lot of comics pass through my hands. Interesting in that both Jim Starlin and Wrightson were involved in creating the storylines for both.

Anyway, I put this here so that I can maybe get some feedback on the books, about what I’m not remembering, about what was outstanding about the DC book that should be remembered as well as those top-flight stories from the Marvel comic. But I have to be honest, it’s gonna be hard to beat that Magneto strip.

EDIT: Everything old is new again! I just reminded myself that I wrote about these books on the site before, because of course I have! Here I am talking about the Marvel one, and here’s DC…more images (and some linkrot) for your perusal!

Blogging about Free Comic Book Day is a sin.

§ May 13th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, free comic book day § 5 Comments

A few follow-up Free Comic Book Day questions:

Daniel T crosses over with

“I’m curious about one of the freebies: how excited are people for Dark Crisis?”

That…is hard for me to judge, simply because I was inside working the register while all the free comics were outside getting snapped up by the madding crowds. While I had given away nearly every copy, I can’t say that was more out of interest in the Dark Crisis event itself or simply because it was The Free Mainline Superhero DC Freebie and therefore a top target of FCBD-ers.

I haven’t heard a lot of in-store interest in the comic in general, aside from inquiries into the variant covers. Maybe it’ll be like my experience with the new Flashpoint Beyond event thingie, where I didn’t have a lot of folks asking about it up front, but once it hit the stands then the demand showed up. Or maybe people are just tired with Big Deal Comics with “Crisis” in the title, who knows?

• • •

John Maurer had maur to say

“Isn’t the Avengers/X-Men FCBD book the one that has the speculators drooling because it is the first appearance of Blade’s daughter or some such character? THAT MISTAKE WILL MAKE YOU RICH, MIKE!*

“* OK, probably not, but you might could get like $5-10 each if Disney ever brings the character into the MCU.”

You know, I have no idea what’s going on in that Avengers/X-Men/Eternals thing. Lemme look at the eBays.

[TEMPUS FUGIT]

Okay, I looked at eBay long enough for the gorge to rise, and sure ’nuff that very freebie is being sold for between a relatively reasonable one dollar up to at least $10. And yes, it’s because it introduces Blade’s daughter. I haven’t had anyone come in after the fact specifically requesting that issue, so I don’t know if the news hasn’t filtered down to my area yet (unlikely) or that the local investors have looked at that item and found it not worth the trouble (more likely). Or many they snapped up stacks of them off the front tables when nobody was looking.

I did a more general search on the 2022 FCBD offerings over on eBay and most things appears to be offered for between $2 to $5 bucks. One person was selling Dark Crisis for $6. Seems pretty mellow this year…usually there’s at least one comic that’s the Speculator’s Choice, but aside from folks pushing that X/Av/Et book hard, nothing’s really standing out.

• • •

Randal Yard sticks it to me with

“Don’t think you need to bother putting Your Pal Dorian’s link up there anymore…in fact, woof, that sidebar of links really needs some TLC. Is it just you and Neil chugging along?”

Yeah, I know, I know, I need to, at least, update some of those links to more current, active locations for some of those folks (like maybe their Twitter feeds). That takes a little bit of time, which I’ve been short on a bit lately. And if you think that sidebar is bad, The Deity of Your Choice help you if you ever poke in on my links page.

In pal Dorian’s case, I was just linking his name to his site pretty much automatically, even though he hadn’t updated in a while. And I just noticed, looking now, that it’s currently going to a domain parking page. I swear I checked not long ago and it was still going to his dormant, but still present, website. At one point I talked with Dor about taking over hosting an archived version of his site on my webspace, but we ran into a difficulty or two trying to move files around and we both ended up just getting to busy to deal with it otherwise. Eep, I’ll have to ask him what we can do about this.

But yes, my sidebar and my links page are both graveyards of dormant or straight-up dead sites, which, y’know, Such Is The Internet. I feel sad about some of those losses, certainly, as I got on well with a number of them. Many of those folks started about the same time as me, or somewhat before, in the Comicsweblogosphere, but I suppose it’s a lot to ask of someone to still be posting about comic books on their World Wide Website nearly twenty years on, like some weirdos.

There are still a few blogs left standing, like Neilalien (whom you mentioned) and Bully the Little Stuffed Bull (slight format change, but still as stuffed and little as ever). Johanna is still plugging along as well. And there are others, as well as newer blogs that have come along.

A good place to look at what comic blogs are still active is the Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron…plenty of folks still “blogging” about “comics,” all of whom guaranteed to be confirmed social deviants. Otherwise, why would they do it? WHYYYY

• • •

Andrew Davison schools me with

“Any pics of happy kids?”

Look, no kid will ever be happier at Free Comic Book Day that the one pictured at the top of this post on the store website from a few years back. I mean, that’s just science.

But like I said earlier, I was at the register most of the day, and didn’t get a chance to take pics. My dad took a couple, like this shot of inside the store:


As you can see, young folks were in evidence, and I can assure you I saw plenty throughout the day.

• • •

Well, that’s that for this year…I mean, there weren’t any “but what good does FCBD do?” or “don’t you lose money?” questions this time ’round (answers: plenty and nope, in that order, please refer to all my previous posts), but that’ll do. Thanks for your interest in the subject, and we’ll see you next week!

It was either that or “Signie.”

§ March 16th, 2022 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, retailing § 2 Comments

It’s because the atomic number of iodine is 53.

Anyway, about Monday’s post…the plan was to respond to some of your comments from a couple of weeks ago, long delayed because of early morning doctor appointments disrupting my late evening blogging habits. However, I got caught up with looking into that whole Saturday Night Live thing I decided to make investigating that the whole post. Of course, being weeks after the fact, the matter had already been long settled and I’d come to the wrong conclusion anyway, so there you go.

I did get in a brief anecdote about my previous place of employment helping out a local theater production, as well as ending the post with a fairly solid gag, so it wasn’t all in vain!

Speaking of the previous place etc., Eric had this question about the old sign I procured from there:

“Did the dragon have a name?”

Here’s a better pic of the dragon from the sign:

And no, to the best of my knowledge the dragon had no name. Which is weird because we sure liked putting names on things at the store. At one point former coworker Rob had brought in a skull sculpture (a skullpture?) that he’d just kept on a shelf behind the counter. The skull was dubbed “Sid,” and eventually, when we got a second somewhat smaller skull from parts unknown (or forgotten), it was called, of course, “Marty.” And there were other things around the shop we named…most notably, the old wooded baseball bat Ralph kept behind the counter that was referred to as “The Peacemaker.” (No relation.)

But alas, our painted dragon friend lacked a sobriquet. Well, the sign’s mine now, so I shall dub…her, let’s say she’s a her, “Jennifer,” for no good reason I could adequately explain.

And adrian hunter sez about the sign

“I love how signage like this always ends with ‘science fiction.’ Science Fiction…what? Double-Feature? Books? videos? games? all the above? I don’t know about the rest of the world, although from this sign it seems endemic but in CT it happens a lot. It’s just amusing to me.”

Ralph (if you recall from my recap of his retail history) had been in a shop up in Santa Barbara that specialized in science fiction books and comic books. Ralph was the one in charge of the sci-fi books, as that had been, and still is, a particular interest of his (along with comics, of course). So, when he opened up his own shop it was probably no surprise that he wanted to emphasize the “science fiction” part of the business, especially with all the Star Warsing and Star Trekking going on.

And to your question of “science fiction what,” the answer is “yes.” Books, videos (eventually) games, even comics sometimes. And “double feature” of sorts…Ralph had plenty of Ace doubles.

But seriously, “science fiction” is a good, overall eye-catching term to grab people where things like “comic books” and “baseball cards” might not. Come to think of it, I should probably replace that “SPECULATIVE EVOLUTIONARY DIESELPUNK” painted in the window with “SCIENCE FICTION” instead. Might get more positive attention.

Where Buck Rogers is now.

§ September 8th, 2021 § Filed under blogging about blogging is a sin, television § 6 Comments


Sorry for the extended interruption…one of the downsides of being at the shop all week, if that’s not a downside in its own right, is that many other chores and miscellaneous life stuff have to be done around that particular responsibility, which, depending on the activity, means “at night, after work.” Usually I can balance my free blogging time with whatever other responsibilities I have, but this time we had a lot of stuff that needed to be done in a short time frame, so my nights have been otherwise occupied.

Now I think the current state of emergency is over, though some follow-up is possible. But, in the meantime, I think the site will be back on whatever passes for its regular schedule. Thanks for sticking around, pals.

So what exactly have I been doing relaxation and fun over the last couple of weeks, when I wasn’t doing the work I’d been doing? Why, watching the classic 1979-81 TV sci-fi adventure Buck Rogers in the 25th Century starring Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Mel Blanc, of course.

I happened to be flipping through the selections on the free streaming app Tubi and spotted both that show and the original Battlestar Galactica amongst its programming. I watched a little of BG, but I feel like I’ve seen plenty of BG in reruns and such over the decades. However, BR existed in my head mostly as vague memories from childhood, save for the opening narration and theme music which I’ve always quite liked:


(NOTE: that’s the second season opener, with a different narrator. Music’s still good, though.)

It’s perfectly affable fun, which I’d been tweeting about lately. Buck as a “man-out-of-time” is mostly restricted to his using modern informal English and idioms that 25th century people don’t grok. But there are lots of fun guest-stars (Frank Gorshin! Markie Post! Peter Graves! Buster Crabbe! Cesar Romero! HENRY FREAKIN’ SILVA!) and completely misleading lurid titles (“Planet of the Slave Girls,” starring Jack Palance) and all the gals are squeezed into unforgiving spandex (and at least one gal in an outfit so revealing I caught an extra checking her out briefly)…it’s all so much of its time, but still a lot of fun to watch. Lots of shots set in modern factories and at least one parking garage, it looked like, but you know, that’s all fine.

And look, I haven’t even watched the episodes with Gary Coleman yet. How can those not be great?

I know many special effects, sound effects, and even props were shared between this show and Battlestar Galactica (hello, same control stick in Galactica‘s Vipers showing up in the Buck Rogers ships) which, again, whatever. But I’ll tell you, the control stick thing bothered me back then, and it still bothers me now. Unless they were leading up to the eventual Buck Rogers/Battlestar Galactica crossover, in which case all is forgiven.

So I’m only partway into the first season, and I know Hawk is awaiting me in Season 2 (I actually remember the Starlog cover he was on far more clearly than anything in the show itself). Thus, no spoilers, please.

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